Australia’s most successful rally driver, Ross Dunkerton, is the latest high-profile entrant in the 2010 Frontier Services Classic Outback Trial to be staged from 21-27 November.

The five-time Australian Rally Champion and former Mitsubishi factory driver, who won more than 100 rallies in a stellar career spanning three decades, will this time be driving a 1996 Holden Commodore V6 navigated by the car’s owner, Queenslander Robert Wilkins.

They will be amongst an expected 30 crews to compete in the six-day event, which will take the field of classic and production rally cars built prior to 1996 on a 2,200km loop through Central and Western New South Wales.

Dunkerton only recently decided to enter the Trial after spotting Wilkins’ Commodore at the workshop where he prepares his current BDA Escort rally car.

“I got Rob enthused and now the Commodore is a bare shell and getting some serious preparation!” said Dunkerton.

The last Holden that Dunkerton rallied was the similar V6 Commodore team car in which he ran as high as third outright in the 1995 Mobil 1 Trial.

“It was a pretty impressive thing,” said Dunkerton. “This car will be much the same except it will have a live rear axle.

“I’m really looking forward to the event. The course should suit the car and I think we’ll have a bit of fun!”

Dunkerton’s rivals include Steve Ashton and Chris Snell in a Mitsubishi Lancer, Paul Darrouzet in his very fast 5.0-litre V8-engined 1970 Ford Capri Perana and well-known Historic Rally Association competitors Ian and Val Swan in a highly modified Volvo.

Starting and finishing in Forbes and travelling via major regional centres including Dubbo and Coonabarabran, the field will compete in around 25 closed-road timed special stages representing about 30 per cent of the total Trial distance.

The event will open and close with timed special stages at Forbes Showgrounds and the adjoining Travelling Stock Reserve, which will be open free for the public to view.

The Frontier Services Classic Outback Trial was originally scheduled to run in August this year but had to be delayed twice because of unseasonal rains in the region that made many of the event’s special stage roads impassable.

Because some prospective entrants were unable to make the original August Trial date, entries for the event will now close on Friday, 12 November.

Event director Philip Bernadou said despite the postponements the field starting the event would be of similar size, as the later running suited some competitors who could not make the August starting date.

“We are still getting full support from the Shires and Forests NSW,” he said. “There is considerable local interest in the Trial and a huge willingness amongst competitors and officials for it to be a success.’

The final course check is being conducted in mid-October to confirm that road conditions are now back to normal following the heavy rains in August and September.
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